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Hi! I'm new to the forum and am interested in finding out the answer to a couple of questions regarding a bari I'm considering buying.

First, it's a silver-plated Conn 12M Naked Lady with serial number 675xxx. I'm assuming it's from 1957 according to other serial number lists. I'm wondering if Conn's production had already moved to Mexico during '57? Does anyone know if this serial number would be manufactured in Mexico?

Also, the person selling the sax says that it has been 'overhauled' about 10 years ago. This also includes being replated. He says he doesn't know if it was lacquered or silver plated prior to it being overhauled. I am wondering if he had it silver plated, is this the equivalent of having it 'dipped' completely in the silver plating? I've heard that it's detrimental to these Conns made prior to 1960 and can completely change the sound. Does anyone have any idea if this is true? Also, is silver plating the same as being completely lacquered? I can barely see the naked lady inscription on the bell. Thanks for your help! Don't want to overpay for an already expensive baritone.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2007-
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No,

The best I can tell, 12M production was move to Mexico in or about 1969 directly from Elkhart and 10M production never left Elkhart.

The plating would have been done with electrolysis. All of the lacquer would have been completely removed and horn would have probably been buffed to removed in corrosion and small imperfections. The metal parts would then have been dipped into a salt solution containing silver and a voltage was applied. The result was a very very thin layer of pure silver covering. In most cases, the addition in weight is very small. And I don't believe this would hurt the sound at all. Some might even claim that it would improve overall tone to some degree.

From a value standpoint, an original lacquer 12M from the late fifties in good condition might be worth a little more. But some players will be drawn to the silver plate if it's in good condition. So if your horn is really clean, it might well bring close to what an original 12M from this period would. At least that's the kind of thing I see on eBay. Of course, your mileage may vary. :bluewink:

PS: If you are buying this horn, compare it to similar horns on eBay to get a fair market value. And most of all, play it and other bari's in and out of your price range so you have a good feel for how it stacks up. That horn might be a great player, or it could be a real dog. Playing it first is the only way you will know.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2016
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What he said. Artist series were made in USA until '70. So no 12M predating 1970 is a Mexico-made horn.

Only the Director series horns (14M & 16M) were made in Mexico starting in 1960.

Silverplating will not change the sound.

The only bummer I am hearing here is that the engraving is obscured. That's too bad, and is probably the result, as Enviro said - of buffing the bare brass after the lacquer was removed. This can be re-engraved for about $250 by Artistic Engravings.

As far as price, a (relatively) late model 12M should run about $1500-1800 in good playing shape these days.

That the Silverplate adds or subtracts from that...is an argument which can go both ways, really. One way being: it's a Silver Bari, which is hecka cool.

vs.

It's not original finish.

I would not pay more than $2g for that horn....I doubt really the market value is even that, these days. It's a great instrument...it's just that Bari prices are in the basement nowadays.
 

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If it looks good, don't worry. Any bari in working condition is worth nearly $1,000. Conns are some of the best.
 

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If the price fits with you and more importantly the sound, then don't worry about looks or what has or has not been done to it over the years.
 

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I wouldn't recommend paying more than $1k for a late model conn without original finish. Even RHT 12M's can be had for $1800 these days...Bruce is right though, $1k is good for a playing bari.
 
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